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New Recruit - Spencer Weisz.

Last week 6'4"+ 190 lb guard/forward Spencer Weisz from Florham Park, who attends Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, NJ verbally committed to Princeton.

I've subsequently been able to talk on the phone to Pirates head coach Kevin Williams and assistant Gregory Walsh about Weisz, where I learned about how a former Princeton reserve aided the current Tiger staff in Weisz' initial discovery and what Ivy League Player of the Year from another school he may compare to down the line.

Exclusive quotes and analysis from two men who have developed this Tiger recruit the past three seasons plus links to player evaluations, photos and videos of Weisz can be found after the jump.

All pictures enclosed were taken by Richard Morris.

Williams, who is entering his second season as SHP's coach after 16 years as an assistant, said Weisz would "be a great fit for Princeton or anybody who got him. He does everything. He's a great passer and a very good rebounder who gets a bunch of steals. At the end of a game he'll have scored 12 points with eight rebounds, five steals and seven assists. You always remember him afterwards even if he doesn't score a lot of points."

"Even when he wasn't the primary scorer, people who know basketball in the stands said 'man, I love the way he plays and I love the things he does,'" Williams added. "He's going to be a great addition to Princeton basketball."

As a junior Weisz averaged 12.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists.

Walsh called Weisz "probably our most important player for the last two seasons," which is significant when talking about a top-flight team that went 26-3 in 2011-12 and played in the NJSIAA Non-Public A championship game.

"I'd say the biggest thing that separates Spencer from most very good high school players is he makes his teammates better," Walsh continued. "He's one of those guys that can really lift his teammates' level to his, where some very good players are just scorers and they may get a lot of headlines but Spencer does a lot of things – whether behind the scenes or on the court itself - that helps your team win and makes the coach look good."

Starting on the JV as a freshman, Weisz was quickly promoted after a small number of games, playing alongside Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall University) and Dallas Anglin (Hofstra University).

"Spencer would be the guy leading the team in rebounds, assists, steals and charges taken," Walsh added. "Without him on the floor we became much less of a team."

Watching videos of Seton Hall Prep, Weisz looks to have a different sort of frame than a traditional player of his size, but Walsh disagreed. "He has strong legs but like most high school kids, he was skinny," Walsh countered. "In the last two-and-a-half years he's put his time in the weight room. He's really strengthened his frame. Now he knows it – when he drives to the basket and gets bumped he still has the strength to finish it and get an 'and one.'"

Williams expects Weisz' scoring to increase as a senior, but not markedly so. "He's so unselfish that he'll see himself as the primary scorer but he'll still rack up those other numbers," Williams said. "Certainly we'll need him to pick up some of the slack. He always makes the right play or the right pass at any given time. He's pretty crafty at getting in the lane as well. "

It is Weisz' versatility on both sides of the ball that has made him such a valuable part of Seton Hall Prep's success. "You can put him on a quicker guy and he might not be as fast or move as well laterally, but he's very smart in anticipating where the ball is going or where he needs to be on the next play," Williams stated. "He's great in that regard too and can defend most guys out on the floor."

"When we faced pressure he'll bring the ball up from time to time. We like him to inbound the ball but we also like him getting the first pass to lead the break. It all depends on the situation. We've just had the utmost faith in him for the past few years. With a guy like him, you know he's working on everything. He could defend on the ball a little bit better, so I'm sure he's been working on that, but at the same time he's a very good defender."

While he's played everywhere from the "1" to the "4" as a Pirate. Williams sees Weisz as more of a "3" naturally in the Ivy League. However, Weisz's game still remains hard to categorize.

"He plays like a point guard or a '2' but he's a little bit bigger," Williams assessed. "He can score inside, he can score outside but he's really improved his perimeter game the last couple of years."

Weisz does have a deft touch from behind the three point arc. "He can shoot it, but that's the thing – sometimes his offensive scoring prowess gets hidden because Spencer plays to win the game," Walsh said. "He won't take a shot that's not a good one. He'll make the right play and if it comes time to shoot it he's more than capable of knocking it down but he won't do anything selfish on the court just to pump up his points per game."

Asked about how Weisz projected to the college level, Walsh dropped a name that two decades ago put fear into the hearts of Princeton fans. "We had a player at Seton Hall Prep, I can't believe it was 20 years ago now, named Ira Bowman who went to Penn. He ended up becoming the Ivy League Player of the Year and led the Quakers to the NCAA Tournament," Walsh said. "I honestly think Spencer is going to be very good at the college level. I think he's going to be a guy where 2-3 years from now, all the Seton Hall University and Rutgers fans are going to say 'how come we didn't recruit this guy?!'"

It was a rarely-used Princeton bench player that first tipped off the Tiger staff to Weisz. "One of our other assistant coaches is Galen Criqui [son of NBC broadcaster Don and former Princeton reserve class of 1994 – JS]," Walsh informed. "When we have some young players in our program that he thinks can help out at some of these different colleges where he has connections, he emails them and says 'look out.'"

"[Galen] has been with us for a few years and has always been a big fan of Spencer's," Williams added. "He was getting a little bit angry that Spencer had high interest from Dartmouth and Brown and Penn had been around a lot. It was kind of lukewarm [initially] from the Princeton side. They started getting involved and Coach Criqui was getting happier and happier the more he would see Princeton around."

"The more you see Spencer play, the more you realize how good he is," was how Williams explained this early disinterest. "If you just look at him physically or his size, sometimes people are turned off by that. Then, if you see him play at such a high level in high school and especially on the AAU scene against all these big AAU programs – not only is he doing well but his teams are winning championships pretty regularly now against more established programs, then I think you say 'hey, wait a minute...'"

Weisz is a two star recruit according to ESPN, who write: He's extremely heady and most valuable because of his understanding of the game and high basketball I.Q. He's an outstanding passer who not only throws assists but also understands ball reversal and spacing. He makes shots with deep range, has worked to strengthen his frame, is a deceptively solid quarter court defender, and a very good rebounder at his position.

You can review Weisz' statistics from last season here.

As a junior Weisz was named Third Team All-Non-Public and First Team All-Essex County by The Star Ledger as well as First Team All-Super Essex Conference.

Weisz, who plays his AAU ball for Sports U, earned 2012 Under Armour Hoop Group Pitt Jam Fest All Tournament Team status. He was profiled on Sports U's site as a junior.

After Pitt Jam Fest Future 150 wrote: Weisz was the one who put the nails in the coffin once his team was finally able to wrestle the lead away from TNBA (OH) . On multiple occasions Spencer hit big time threes that killed runs and furthered the gap between the two teams. While he is primarily a spot-up shooter, Weisz was able to hit a couple of threes off the bounce as well, going 5-7 from three in the second half. Right now he claims interest from most of the Ivy League and Patriot League and JMU and Fairfield where both on hand to see him play.

Following the Academic Elite Camp's first session Hoop Group said: A skilled and strong ‘tweener, Weisz has a refined skill set and can do a bit of everything. On Day Two, he knocked down long-range three-pointers, was his team’s leading rebounder, and even showed off a couple nice post moves. Capable of defending the 2, 3, or 4, Weisz is built well and leads by example on both sides of the ball. A great student as well, he holds seven offers, five of which are from Ivy or Patriot League schools.

Weisz was named the AEC's Most Outstanding Prospect.

The Cherry & The White attended Live In AC and wrote of Weisz: [He] showed off his quickness and lockdown defense against the NJ Playaz, answering some questions about his overall talent. I really like his shooting ability along with great defense. I said this to some scouts, Spencer Weisz may be the best defender at this tournament. His basketball I.Q. is just uncanny, which is part of the reason why I'm very high on him. He has been watched by Bucknell, Brown, Colgate (who watched him today), Columbia, Dartmouth, Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh, Northwestern, Penn, Princeton, and Yale. He will enter senior season at Seton Hall Prep next season.

After the same event NBE Basketball designated Weisz their "Sleeper Performance of the Day."

In June Hoop Group reported Weisz held "verbal offers" from "Yale, Penn, Brown, Colgate, Holy Cross, New Hampshire, and UMBC."

Weisz is also quoted in a piece about social media and basketball.

An interview with Weisz from July 2012.

Weisz is wearing #23 in these clips. This is from his sophomore year.

Junior year. The Non-Public A North final, where Weisz scored 23 in the victory.

More from the same game, plus a short interview.

Misses a three, but follows that up with a steal and a layup.

Highlights from the 17U AAU champs Sports U. Weisz's clips really kick in at the 2:40 mark in but he can be seen throughout.

George Clark said,

September 11, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

Jon does it again...great job.

David Bennet said,

September 11, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

Nice job, Jon, and a big thanks to Don and Galen Criqui.

On another note, do you have any information on the article that discusses Harvard's Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry being implicated in the academic cheating scandal?

Jon Solomon said,

September 11, 2012 @ 6:48 pm

Thank you both.

David, I've added some comments bout this story in today's news post that featured the SI article. A Boston newspaper reporter subsequently said Curry was also going to withdraw today but I have not seen that confirmed elsewhere. It would not be unexpected.

It is also reported that a third member of Harvard's basketball team could be involved but it is my understanding that is not someone who saw much playing time.


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